The Beatitudes: The DNA of Discipleship
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
--Jesus, Matthew 5:3-4
Father, by your Holy Spirit, grant us grace to “hear, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest” the words of Jesus.
Starting today, the “Pastor’s Corner” is going to change. As you’ll see above, we’ll open with the two Beatitudes spoken to us by Jesus for this week. I encourage you, as one of his disciples, to “read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest”* Jesus’ words in preparation for listening on Sunday. If you memorize two Beatitudes each week, by the end of Lent you’ll have hidden the entire DNA of Discipleship – the full list of the Beatitudes – within your heart (Psalm 119:1).
The idea for doing this emerged from several conversations, and two in particular. A couple of months ago, Dick Ayres shared with me his commitment to begin memorizing Scripture, and how it is already shaping his heart. Separately, and a little while later, Michael Dominguez suggested we begin posting excerpts from the Sermon on the Mount for people to memorize, an idea that came out of his own prayer for Immanuel. This leads me to the next change for the “Pastor’s Corner.”
Our Immanuel family has many mature, wise disciples of Jesus. You’re going to be hearing from more of them in this space. There will be a few regular contributors, such as our Deacon and our Senior Warden. On occasion, I will be inviting others to share as well. This is one more way of answering the call to ready our hearts, practicing Paul’s guidance to the Colossians: “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16). The “you” there is plural – “Let the word of Christ dwell in y’all richly….” We grow up into Christ as we listen to each other speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:1-16).
I will continue writing at least monthly, and here-and-there will insert a postscript. Next week, however, you will hear from Alan Clark, our Senior Warden, as he reflects on the furnishings for Immanuel’s future house. They aren’t what you might think.
I’m grateful to be living this Lent together with you.
Your Pastor in Christ,
*These words come from a prayer written by Thomas Cranmer, creator of Anglicanism’s seminal Book of Common Prayer: “Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures to be written for our learning; grant us that we may in such wise hear them, read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest them; that by patience and comfort of thy holy Word, we may embrace, and ever hold fast the blessed hope of everlasting life, which thou hast given us in our savior Jesus Christ.; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.” You can find a contemporary version of the same prayer on page 676 of our BCP 2019.